Another Medford author.
‘Life on the Nile, and Excursions on Shore Between Cairo and Asouan, also A Tour in Syria and Palestine in 1866-67,’ is the title of a little book in our public library that was printed for private distribution. On a flyleaf the following is written in ink: ‘To the Medford Public Library from Wm. Wilkins Warren, Boston, July, 1875.’ As the title is self explanatory, we leave the disclosure of its contents to the investigation of our readers, but of the writer we may with fitness speak briefly, as his work gives him a place in that department of our public library devoted to Medford authors. This term is used broadly, and includes their writings published before and after as well as while residing here. Mr. Warren's New England origin is shown by his ordering in Marseilles, when procuring supplies for the Nile journey, such goods as ‘potted oysters, tomatoes, salmon, mincemeat for pies, all put up in America.’ Thus did this traveler of fifty years ago foreshadow the slogan of today. For the benefit of American tourists he gave the name of the only ship supply establishment where these goods could be purchased. [p. 53] His parents were Isaac and Frances (Wilkins) Warren. The father was born in Arlington (old Menotomy), April 22, 1787, and the son in the same town, then West Cambridge, April 1, 1814. About 1820 the father went to New York and William was sent to the grandparents, who then lived on High street, in West Medford, where is now the street that was named for this family. He and two sisters were baptized in the First Parish meeting-house, June 18, 1820. He lived here about eight years, then went to work in a printing office in Boston. He married at Billerica, Mass., Rebecca Bennett of that town, October 17, 1837. At that time he was living in West Cambridge, or was registered there. In 1830 he engaged in the West India trade, living in St. Thomas (one of the Danish islands recently acquired by the United States) until 1840, when he, with his wife, returned to their native land and resided in Boston. Mr. Warren was successful in business and retired therefrom early. Both he and his wife possessed ample means and traveled extensively. He was of a genial disposition and drew around him a large circle of friends. He was philanthropic and his interests were far-reaching. He was a director in many organizations, and after his death his wife continued the benefactions and was a generous patron of many of Boston's well-known institutions. They celebrated their golden wedding in a manner appropriate to their position and wealth at Hotel Bristol, Boston, October 17, 1887. The invitations bore the words, ‘No gifts desired’; the pleasure of friends meeting friends only was desired and was realized. Among the guests were the following, with their wives, Ex-Gov. Alexander H. Rice, Hon. Thomas N. Hart, Chester Guild, Rev. E. A. Horton, Rev. M. J. Savage, Moses Kimball; the Misses Kimball; Rev. James Reed, and J. M. Rodocanachi, the Greek consul. Poems written for the occasion by Rev. E. A. Horton, Rev. M. J. Savage, and Elijah B. Smith of West Medford were read. These, and others not read for want of [p. 54] time, were printed in a beautiful souvenir volume containing an account of the occasion, with the names of the guests, fifty copies of which were printed for private distribution. The fellow voyagers of twenty years before were there and a more remarkable fact was that the bridesmaid and groomsman of 1837 were present; the former, Mrs. Sarah W. Hart, a sister of Mr. Warren; the latter, Elijah B. Smith. A valued keepsake in a Medford family is one of these little books, inscribed on a fly-leaf, ‘The Bride and Groom, 1837, To Mr. Elijah B. Smith, Xmas, 1887.’ Mr. Warren died in Boston, January 23, 1890. A pamphlet published after his death testified to the esteem in which he was held. Words written by officers of churches, savings banks, the Washingtonian Home, Bostonian Society, directors of the public library of Billerica, corporation of the South End Industrial School, and others, formed a fine testimonial and gave proof of good stewardship. Mrs. Warren died at Hotel Bristol, where she had lived for thirty-seven years, July 31, 1916, at the age of ninety-seven.